Why I Think All Profiles Are Fake
Facebook is such a strange thing. I can go to a website made by someone I will never meet, and find a box with my picture and my name. I can type in almost anyone and find a box with their picture and name, and then presume to know something about them. It’s a single stupid screen, filled with utterly meaningless posts and shares and pictures, where I look at what people want me to think about their lives. Too often I also look at my own nonsense on Facebook and try to understand what I want people to think of my life. What do I want to show the world? (Or rather, what do I want to show the world by using the least possible effort that could be made by a person? Think about it: a post usually has less thought and emotion behind it compared to almost any other form of self-expression. You can express who you are through art, film, writing extensive prose/poetry/fiction/nonfiction, travel, activism, your career, faith, volunteering, etc. But do we choose to show people who we are through those means? No, because posting something on Facebook is easier than trying to show all your friends your passions and pursuits in real life. Even physically saying something to someone else requires much more courage than a post ever could. The smallest touch can express more than any “like”. We have become so lazy, even with our own self-expression.) The more I look at my page the more fake I feel.
I was against Facebook for such a long time. But alas, my senior year of high school I caved in, telling myself that it would be useful to keep in touch with all my friends after I graduated. And you know what happened the summer after I graduated from high school? I deleted half of my “friends” who went to school with me. I never talked to these people much in real life, and they didn’t talk to me, so why did either one of us think putting any effort in an online “friendship” would be worthwhile? I couldn’t sever all ties with the website, though. I had become sucked in and was constantly snooping on people I couldn’t get access to in real life (ex boyfriends, friends who moved away and had forgotten about me, girls who were popular in high school and got knocked up the second after graduation, people who had far more fabulous lives than I had, etc.). It was a terrible addiction and gave me an icky feeling about myself. But everyone does that stuff on Facebook at some point, so I decided to cut back, rather than cut out my addiction. When I got to college I started following organizations on Facebook, and now I probably spend more time reading recommended NPR articles on Facebook than I do reading anything any of my “friends” post. However, the icky feeling remains.
I hate how much I care about everything I reveal on Facebook… Not that it’s much; in fact, I probably worry more about everything I want to hide from Facebook than anything I reveal. No ugly pictures, no posts that are too radical or too personal, no information that could provoke some online creeper to come to my house late at night. I never post anything that alludes to alcohol, drugs, anything illegal obviously, health concerns, financial concerns, educational concerns, rarely any rants, nothing that conveys a low self-esteem, and never anything about my family. I also take precautions to not friend anyone I don’t know in real life, any aunts or uncles, parents of friends, or anyone from the past who didn’t give a crap about me when we were in each other’s presence in real life. I tiptoe through my virtual life in ways I dare not to in real life…so why do I cling to it? Why does it matter so much to hang on to pages of people who I no longer see in real life?
Maybe I’m just sentimental, maybe I’m too lazy to avoid what is simply convenient, maybe I have fallen prey to the cyber-obsession of my generation. Maybe because I write my heart out on an anonymous blog I am no better than the postings on Facebook, and am a complete hypocrite for writing all of this. But one thing I do know is that when I sit and think about a world without Facebook, I feel more free, light, and happier. Human connection and self-expression is a beautiful thing, and the cyber world cannot do it proper justice (in my opinion).
I guess Facebook is our attempt of a do-over for all those bad first impressions, those conversations when the words came out all wrong, those conversations that never took place, and for what impression we give the world in real life. On Facebook, we are the false version of ourselves that we always wanted.